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Why does Virginia get a D in the federal State of Safety report?

| May 18, 2021 | Motor Vehicle Accidents |

The National Safety Council’s State of Safety report strives to identify and reduce preventable risks for residents of each state. The NSC reviewed programs, statistics and initiatives in three areas, including road safety, workplace safety, and home and community safety.

Learn why Virginia received a D for road safety, ranking 38th in the nation in this category.

Child passengers

This area is one of four in which the state ranked as “off track” for meeting one or no safety indicators, which include:

  • Extending safety restraint or booster laws until age 8
  • Mandating rear-facing safety seats until age 2
  • Passing legislation to reduce hot car deaths
  • Protecting individuals who attempt to rescue child from hot cars

Virginia weights these indicators from most to least impactful for overall public safety.

Seatbelt laws

Virginia also fails to meet more than one of the NSC indicators for seatbelt safety:

  • Having a seatbelt law with primary enforcement, meaning law enforcement can pull over a driver for a seatbelt violation even if he or she did not commit other violations
  • Covering all vehicle occupants and seating positions with the state seatbelt law
  • Requiring seatbelts on school buses

The NSC notes that appropriate seatbelt use lowers fatality risk by 50% and serious injury risk by 45% in a crash.

Teen drivers

The state needs work to correct its off-track status for teen driver safety. Indicators here include:

  • Passenger restrictions for at least the first six months of licensure
  • Curfew of 10 p.m.
  • At least 60 hours of required practice driving

NSC also recommends that Virginia implement motorcycle and bicycle helmet laws.